Novice: First steps with VirtualDub

Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

Apart from making a few 'slideshow DVDs' (using MemoriesOnTV), I'm a
complete novice in this territory. I've just started dabbling with
Windows MovieMaker 2.0. I made a 4MB WMV with it and have eventually
converted it to an AVI (albeit 8MB, too long), using 'WMV to AVI MPEG
DVD WMV Converter' V1.2.2 from Allok Soft. I'm now trying to work with
that AVI in VirtualDub (1.3c). But I'm confused by a few truly basic
points, and would appreciate a little help please. (BTW, the
Help|Contents seems great, but the Help|Find doesn't work at all here.
Is that others' experience?)

OK, specifics. As a simple first toe-in-the-water step I want to
delete about 1 sec from the end of the AVI. So, I open it in
VirtualDub, and delete those few frames (neat tools for that). But on
then using File|Save AVI I get a file that doesn't play the audio ;-(

Under Audio|Conversion, I see that all 3 sections are set to No
Change. Is it something to do with those two options under Audio:
Direct Stream Copy, and Full Processing Mode perhaps? By choosing the
latter, I get audio back - but the file size is about 250MB, 60 times
the original!

In short, how can I just save the original AVI file with a few minor
edits please?

--
Terry, West Sussex, UK
10 answers Last reply
More about novice steps virtualdub
  1. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Terry Pinnell wrote:
    > Apart from making a few 'slideshow DVDs' (using MemoriesOnTV), I'm a
    > complete novice in this territory. I've just started dabbling with
    > Windows MovieMaker 2.0. I made a 4MB WMV with it and have eventually
    > converted it to an AVI (albeit 8MB, too long), using 'WMV to AVI MPEG
    > DVD WMV Converter' V1.2.2 from Allok Soft. I'm now trying to work with
    > that AVI in VirtualDub (1.3c).

    VDub is now at 1.6. May help to DL latest version.

    > OK, specifics. As a simple first toe-in-the-water step I want to
    > delete about 1 sec from the end of the AVI. So, I open it in
    > VirtualDub, and delete those few frames (neat tools for that). But on
    > then using File|Save AVI I get a file that doesn't play the audio ;-(
    >
    > Under Audio|Conversion, I see that all 3 sections are set to No
    > Change. Is it something to do with those two options under Audio:
    > Direct Stream Copy, and Full Processing Mode perhaps? By choosing the
    > latter, I get audio back - but the file size is about 250MB, 60 times
    > the original!

    By specifying Full Processing Mode you tell VD to recompress according
    to whatever you selected under Compression. If you did not select
    anything in particular, it is possible that it defaulted to
    UNCOMPRESSED, which would account for an increase in file size.

    > In short, how can I just save the original AVI file with a few minor
    > edits please?

    I've done exactly what you are trying to do, simply by selecting
    "Direct Stream Copy" for both Video and Audio. I don't recall having to
    do anything else. I chopped off some bits at the end of the clip and
    Saved, and that's all.

    ---
    No question is difficult if you know the answer.
  2. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    In case it's of any help in isolating my problem, here's what I get by
    using File|File Information:

    Video stream
    Frame size, fps (us per frame) 320x240, 25.000 fps (40000 us)
    # of frames (time): 1120 (0:44)
    Decompressor: Microsoft Video 1
    Number of key frames: 7
    Min/avg/max/total key frame size: 9602/27361/39182 (2005K)
    Min/avg/max/total delta frame size: 12/5694/35404 (5812K

    Audio stream
    Sampling rate: 44100Hz
    Channels: 2 (Stereo)
    Sample precision: 16-bit
    Compression: Unknown (tag 0161)
    Preload skew: 0 samples (0.00s
    # of frames: 3
    Min/avg/max/total frame size: 29728/29728/29728 (871K)

    --
    Terry, West Sussex, UK
  3. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Terry Pinnell wrote:

    > I've just started dabbling with Windows MovieMaker 2.0. I made a
    > 4MB WMV with it

    First things first: Where's the original video from? Did you shoot it by
    yourself? If so, what kind of camera did you use? How did you get the
    clip into Windows MovieMaker in the first place?

    > and have eventually converted it to an AVI (albeit 8MB, too long),
    > using 'WMV to AVI MPEG DVD WMV Converter' V1.2.2 from Allok Soft.

    In a later message you imply that the AVI codec that was used as the
    target format for this conversion was "Microsoft Video 1". That's not
    necessarily a good choice, but it is hard to suggest anything specific
    without knowing your actual goal. Where's the video going to end up? Do
    you need to edit it in any other way than by just cutting extraneous
    parts off? (If all you want to do is simple trimming, why bring it out
    of Movie Maker at all?)

    > I'm now trying to work with that AVI in VirtualDub (1.3c).

    You might want to download the latest version (1.6.10):
    <http://www.virtualdub.org/>.

    > But I'm confused by a few truly basic points, and would appreciate a
    > little help please. (BTW, the Help|Contents seems great, but the
    > Help|Find doesn't work at all here. Is that others' experience?)

    The latest version does not have Help|Find at all. The help file seems
    to be a collection of locally stored web pages now, not a Windows *.hlp
    or *.chm help file. (I'm not exactly sure why this is so - I would have
    preferred a standard help file. Then again, even Adobe does it this way
    these days, for some unfathomable reason.)

    > OK, specifics. As a simple first toe-in-the-water step I want to
    > delete about 1 sec from the end of the AVI. So, I open it in
    > VirtualDub, and delete those few frames (neat tools for that). But on
    > then using File|Save AVI I get a file that doesn't play the audio ;-(
    >
    > Under Audio|Conversion, I see that all 3 sections are set to No
    > Change. Is it something to do with those two options under Audio:
    > Direct Stream Copy, and Full Processing Mode perhaps? By choosing the
    > latter, I get audio back - but the file size is about 250MB, 60 times
    > the original!
    >
    > In short, how can I just save the original AVI file with a few minor
    > edits please?

    I'm not sure what causes the problems you have seen, but in principle,
    everything _should_ work if you select "Direct Stream Copy" for _both_
    the video track and the audio track. This should allow cutting the video
    in a "smart render" fashion - with no changes to the actual picture or
    audio content.

    I would suggest trying out the latest version - but I would _also_
    suggest telling a bit more about what is it that you're wanting to _do_
    with the video. What's the end goal? (Converting from WMV to "Microsoft
    Video 1" is not a usual thing to do.)

    --
    znark
  4. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Jukka Aho" <jukka.aho@iki.fi> wrote:

    >Terry Pinnell wrote:
    >
    >> I've just started dabbling with Windows MovieMaker 2.0. I made a
    >> 4MB WMV with it
    >
    >First things first: Where's the original video from? Did you shoot it by
    >yourself? If so, what kind of camera did you use? How did you get the
    >clip into Windows MovieMaker in the first place?

    Thanks, appreciate the detailed reply.

    I could have made the post even longer by covering all of that! But I
    thought it redundant given that the WMV from MovieMaker is playing OK.
    (It plays in WMP9, IrfanView, Nero ShowTime, RealPlayer and PowerDVD.)

    It's one of the first WMVs I've made with MS Windows Movie Maker 2.0.
    (Content is irrelevant; it's for one of the specialist electronics
    newsgroups.) The WMV plays fine in WMP, IrfanView, Nero ShowTime, Real
    Player, and PowerDVD. The reason I'm trying to convert it anyway is
    that one person in the group said the WMV wouldn't play in his WMP. No
    idea why (surely that's the 'native' format for WMP?), but I thought
    I'd try to offer him an AVI (and maybe MPG) as well.

    >> and have eventually converted it to an AVI (albeit 8MB, too long),
    >> using 'WMV to AVI MPEG DVD WMV Converter' V1.2.2 from Allok Soft.
    >
    >In a later message you imply that the AVI codec that was used as the
    >target format for this conversion was "Microsoft Video 1". That's not
    >necessarily a good choice, but it is hard to suggest anything specific
    >without knowing your actual goal. Where's the video going to end up? Do
    >you need to edit it in any other way than by just cutting extraneous
    >parts off? (If all you want to do is simple trimming, why bring it out
    >of Movie Maker at all?)

    See answers above.
    >> I'm now trying to work with that AVI in VirtualDub (1.3c).
    >
    >You might want to download the latest version (1.6.10):
    ><http://www.virtualdub.org/>.

    OK, downloaded that now. (I mistakenly thought I'd installed the
    latest yesterday.)

    >> But I'm confused by a few truly basic points, and would appreciate a
    >> little help please. (BTW, the Help|Contents seems great, but the
    >> Help|Find doesn't work at all here. Is that others' experience?)
    >
    >The latest version does not have Help|Find at all. The help file seems
    >to be a collection of locally stored web pages now, not a Windows *.hlp
    >or *.chm help file. (I'm not exactly sure why this is so - I would have
    >preferred a standard help file. Then again, even Adobe does it this way
    >these days, for some unfathomable reason.)
    >
    >> OK, specifics. As a simple first toe-in-the-water step I want to
    >> delete about 1 sec from the end of the AVI. So, I open it in
    >> VirtualDub, and delete those few frames (neat tools for that). But on
    >> then using File|Save AVI I get a file that doesn't play the audio ;-(
    >>
    >> Under Audio|Conversion, I see that all 3 sections are set to No
    >> Change. Is it something to do with those two options under Audio:
    >> Direct Stream Copy, and Full Processing Mode perhaps? By choosing the
    >> latter, I get audio back - but the file size is about 250MB, 60 times
    >> the original!
    >>
    >> In short, how can I just save the original AVI file with a few minor
    >> edits please?
    >
    >I'm not sure what causes the problems you have seen, but in principle,
    >everything _should_ work if you select "Direct Stream Copy" for _both_
    >the video track and the audio track. This should allow cutting the video
    >in a "smart render" fashion - with no changes to the actual picture or
    >audio content.

    >I would suggest trying out the latest version - but I would _also_
    >suggest telling a bit more about what is it that you're wanting to _do_
    >with the video. What's the end goal? (Converting from WMV to "Microsoft
    >Video 1" is not a usual thing to do.)

    Hope the above background answers those.Will report back after
    following those steps again with new version.

    --
    Terry, West Sussex, UK
  5. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Terry Pinnell wrote:

    >> First things first: Where's the original video from? Did you shoot
    >> it by yourself? If so, what kind of camera did you use? How did you
    >> get the clip into Windows MovieMaker in the first place?

    > I could have made the post even longer by covering all of that! But I
    > thought it redundant given that the WMV from MovieMaker is playing OK.
    > (It plays in WMP9, IrfanView, Nero ShowTime, RealPlayer and PowerDVD.)

    WMV might be the native editing format for MovieMaker, but it's not the
    native storage or acquisition format for any digital video camera I know
    of. That's why I was asking about the (technical) origins of the video
    clip - a question which you didn't answer, btw. If you're going to save
    the video to another format, anyway, it would be best to skip the WMV
    step altogether, since any intermediate lossy compression step only
    serves to degrade the image quality.

    For example, if the video was shot on an ordinary (Mini)DV camera, its
    native format and codec is "DV". Converting that to WMV format in Movie
    Maker serves no useful purpose, unless you plan to distribute the video
    in that format (which you didn't, since you wanted to convert the WMV to
    AVI.) Knowing how you got the video on your computer from the camera and
    what was the original, native format _before_ it was converted to a WMV,
    would help here, even though you chose to skip that question. (Or is it
    that you don't have the original clip any longer?)

    > It's one of the first WMVs I've made with MS Windows Movie Maker 2.0.
    > (Content is irrelevant; it's for one of the specialist electronics
    > newsgroups.)

    Content is never irrelevant. Is it high-motion or low-motion? Is it
    computer-generated or natural images? Interlaced or not? Cartoonish or
    continuous tone with millions of shades? Lots of sharp little details
    and text or not? Knowing what the content is like will help in making an
    informed choice of a video codec.

    > The WMV plays fine in WMP, IrfanView, Nero ShowTime, Real
    > Player, and PowerDVD. The reason I'm trying to convert it anyway is
    > that one person in the group said the WMV wouldn't play in his WMP. No
    > idea why (surely that's the 'native' format for WMP?),

    Maybe he doesn't have the latest version of Windows Media Player and the
    WMV codecs on his computer. They can be downloaded from here:

    <http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/download/AllDownloads.aspx>

    > but I thought I'd try to offer him an AVI (and maybe MPG) as well.

    There are two things that should be considered here. First of all, if
    you still have the original clip in the
    native-to-the-camera-or-other-acquisition-device format, you should be
    using _that_ as your source clip for AVI conversion instead of the
    intermediate WMV clip. Skipping middlemans helps in maximizing the
    quality and minimizing compression artifacts.

    Secondly, AVI is not a video format per se. It's a generic container
    format - a wrapper, if you wish - inside which video and audio streams
    can be stored. The video and audio streams inside an AVI file are
    handled by codecs, some of which are more suitable for particular type
    of jobs (or content) than the others.

    What this all boils down to is, essentially, that if you want to use the
    AVI format at all, you will need to make an informed choice of the video
    and audio codecs inside the file. There are dozens to choose from.
    Whatever you choose will greatly affect the video and audio quality, and
    the size of the final AVI file, so you can't just pick codecs at random.
    Your original choice was the "Microsoft Video-1" codec for the video
    stream (and uncompressed 44.1 kHz PCM audio format for the audio track),
    but that's not a particularly good choice for a video clip that is to be
    distributed on the Internet.

    That being said, basically, the only AVI video codec that rivals WMV in
    performance (and which can be considered a fairly good choice for
    distributing video clips on the Internet), is XviD or DivX. These codecs
    do not come with Windows; they need to be downloaded separately. The MP3
    format is often used for audio tracks. There are other AVI codecs which
    are commonly used for acquisition, editing and archiving, but they're
    not usually used on the Internet.

    --
    znark
  6. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Jukka Aho" <jukka.aho@iki.fi> wrote:

    >Terry Pinnell wrote:
    >
    >>> First things first: Where's the original video from? Did you shoot
    >>> it by yourself? If so, what kind of camera did you use? How did you
    >>> get the clip into Windows MovieMaker in the first place?
    >
    >> I could have made the post even longer by covering all of that! But I
    >> thought it redundant given that the WMV from MovieMaker is playing OK.
    >> (It plays in WMP9, IrfanView, Nero ShowTime, RealPlayer and PowerDVD.)
    >
    >WMV might be the native editing format for MovieMaker, but it's not the
    >native storage or acquisition format for any digital video camera I know
    >of. That's why I was asking about the (technical) origins of the video
    >clip - a question which you didn't answer, btw. If you're going to save
    >the video to another format, anyway, it would be best to skip the WMV
    >step altogether, since any intermediate lossy compression step only
    >serves to degrade the image quality.
    >
    >For example, if the video was shot on an ordinary (Mini)DV camera, its
    >native format and codec is "DV". Converting that to WMV format in Movie
    >Maker serves no useful purpose, unless you plan to distribute the video
    >in that format (which you didn't, since you wanted to convert the WMV to
    >AVI.) Knowing how you got the video on your computer from the camera and
    >what was the original, native format _before_ it was converted to a WMV,
    >would help here, even though you chose to skip that question. (Or is it
    >that you don't have the original clip any longer?)
    >
    >> It's one of the first WMVs I've made with MS Windows Movie Maker 2.0.
    >> (Content is irrelevant; it's for one of the specialist electronics
    >> newsgroups.)
    >
    >Content is never irrelevant. Is it high-motion or low-motion? Is it
    >computer-generated or natural images? Interlaced or not? Cartoonish or
    >continuous tone with millions of shades? Lots of sharp little details
    >and text or not? Knowing what the content is like will help in making an
    >informed choice of a video codec.
    >
    >> The WMV plays fine in WMP, IrfanView, Nero ShowTime, Real
    >> Player, and PowerDVD. The reason I'm trying to convert it anyway is
    >> that one person in the group said the WMV wouldn't play in his WMP. No
    >> idea why (surely that's the 'native' format for WMP?),
    >
    >Maybe he doesn't have the latest version of Windows Media Player and the
    >WMV codecs on his computer. They can be downloaded from here:
    >
    ><http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/download/AllDownloads.aspx>
    >
    >> but I thought I'd try to offer him an AVI (and maybe MPG) as well.
    >
    >There are two things that should be considered here. First of all, if
    >you still have the original clip in the
    >native-to-the-camera-or-other-acquisition-device format, you should be
    >using _that_ as your source clip for AVI conversion instead of the
    >intermediate WMV clip. Skipping middlemans helps in maximizing the
    >quality and minimizing compression artifacts.
    >
    >Secondly, AVI is not a video format per se. It's a generic container
    >format - a wrapper, if you wish - inside which video and audio streams
    >can be stored. The video and audio streams inside an AVI file are
    >handled by codecs, some of which are more suitable for particular type
    >of jobs (or content) than the others.
    >
    >What this all boils down to is, essentially, that if you want to use the
    >AVI format at all, you will need to make an informed choice of the video
    >and audio codecs inside the file. There are dozens to choose from.
    >Whatever you choose will greatly affect the video and audio quality, and
    >the size of the final AVI file, so you can't just pick codecs at random.
    >Your original choice was the "Microsoft Video-1" codec for the video
    >stream (and uncompressed 44.1 kHz PCM audio format for the audio track),
    >but that's not a particularly good choice for a video clip that is to be
    >distributed on the Internet.
    >
    >That being said, basically, the only AVI video codec that rivals WMV in
    >performance (and which can be considered a fairly good choice for
    >distributing video clips on the Internet), is XviD or DivX. These codecs
    >do not come with Windows; they need to be downloaded separately. The MP3
    >format is often used for audio tracks. There are other AVI codecs which
    >are commonly used for acquisition, editing and archiving, but they're
    >not usually used on the Internet.

    Thanks for that very comprehensive reply - much food for thought
    there! I only got into this a few days ago, and the more I learn the
    more I realise there *is* to learn <g>.

    As you'll see, I'm not convinced the detail will help you to help me -
    but I'm very happy to bore you with it!

    The originals were merely two 10 second MPGs recorded with my Sony
    DSC-1 Cybershot digicam, hand-held view of an array of flashing LEDs.
    I've now uploaded them here:
    http://www.terrypin.dial.pipex.com/Images/MOV00004.MPG
    http://www.terrypin.dial.pipex.com/Images/MOV00006.MPG

    To learn MovieMaker (version 2.0, which I installed last weekend to
    replace the very old 1.1 version I found on my WinXP PC ), I decided
    to make a 'fun' movie from these, for a few of my friends on one of
    the electronics groups. So you now see I was coming at this from a
    quite different perspective to the one you were describing. Source
    content was relatively trivial, and easy to capture at the low quality
    level I needed for this (with my limited free web storage space a
    significant factor here too). Added value would come from the *extras*
    added by MovieMaker:
    - I joined the two MPGs
    - I deleted bits where I'd moved the camera
    - I realised the first (slow) section was too short, so I duplicated
    it
    - I went off for an hour to find a suitable soundtrack and re-learned
    how to edit a WMA file with Goldwave. In particular I wanted its beat
    to sync with the LED frequency (about 1 Hz). I also wanted the
    soundtrack to be quiet (not muted) while the 5 Hz part was showing;
    obviously it was then out of sync, but I wanted to bring the sound
    back up over the 'credits'.
    - I added the finished soundtrack in MovieMaker
    - I saved it, using the Wizard's default of 'Best for my computer...'

    That gave me the WMV, size 3.8MB, which I duly uploaded and linked to
    from the newsgroup. It's still there, in its original form, at
    http://www.terrypin.dial.pipex.com/Images/LED-Sequencer4MB.wmv

    I think that fills in the holes; the rest was in my earlier posts.

    So you see, we're talking at very different ends of the spectrum! I
    don't even *have a camcorder. And the major part of my finished
    'movie' has come from MovieMaker.

    My aim now is therefore to make an MPG and an AVI, as much for
    learning as to possibly help my friend whose WMP cannot play the WMV.
    Both need to be of a similar size to the WMV. (I have managed a couple
    of twice the size, and several of about *60* times the size!)

    Getting back to VirtualDub, I have made progress. The breakthrough as
    you and bxf suspected was to set both video and audio to 'Direct
    Stream Copy'. However, I am still getting *very erratic* results. I'll
    try to report these methodically in a separate post - this is already
    getting brain numbingly long I suspect - but the two key problems are:
    - 1.6 cannot read an AVI made in 1.3
    - Both 1.3 and 1.6 give inconsistent results: sometimes, after opening
    an AVI file that has behaved properly up till then, I cannot play the
    Output file, only the Input. This seems because both video and audio
    are in Direct Stream Copy mode. Then, running the identical operations
    straight after, only the Output's *audio* will play! Then, repeating,
    maybe *both* will play. Very disconcerting...

    --
    Terry, West Sussex, UK
  7. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Terry Pinnell wrote:

    > The originals were merely two 10 second MPGs recorded with my Sony
    > DSC-1 Cybershot digicam, hand-held view of an array of flashing LEDs.

    OK, now we're making some progress here. :)

    The problem with the MPEG format is that there aren't many editors that
    would allow editing it natively. (Especially the big-name NLE apps are
    still lacking in this regard.) There are specialized MPEG editors such
    as "TMPGEnc MPEG Editor" or "VideoReDo", or "Womble MPEG Video Wizard"
    for this purpose (Google for these three to get more information - they
    all have downloadable demo versions), but they do not usually have as
    much features and functionality as a generic-purpose all-around NLE.

    This, of course, does not matter if you're going to convert your
    original MPEG file into some other format (for web distirbution),
    anyway. If that's the case, you only need to be using an editor
    that allows opening the MPEG file, editing the video, and saving
    the outcome to the target format of your choice. But therein lies
    the problem: your target format of choice is the AVI format (with
    yet-unspecified video and audio codecs), but Windows Movie Maker
    2.0 only supports saving in WMV/ASF format - or, in DV AVI format,
    as a sort of an exception to the main rule.

    Unlike more comprehensive video editors on the market (such as
    Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas and the like), Movie Maker 2 does
    _not_ allow you to export your finished video in AVI format
    using whatever hand-picked audio and video codecs you wish -
    even though this kind of functionality is what you would be
    need here.

    Therefore, you have now improvised your way around the problem
    by first saving your edited movie to WMV format and by then
    converting it to the AVI format using an external tool. This
    sounds more or less reasonable approach at circumventing
    MovieMaker's restrictions, but on a closer look, there are
    some obvious problems (as already outlined in my previous
    message):

    1) You used the WMV->AVI conversion tool without manually
    specifying the AVI audio and video codecs. Hence, it just
    gave you whatever defaults there were (and the default
    codecs it chose were not particularly good for web
    distribution and even VirtualDub didn't like them, for
    one reason or the other)

    2) Even if you now go back, install some AVI codecs that are
    known-good for editing and/or web distribution, and proceed
    by choosing a reasonable codec for the WMV->AVI conversion
    process, your video has now gone through no less than three
    (3) lossy, image-degrading compression cycles: the MPEG
    compression in the camera was the first one, the WMV
    compression (when you saved the video in Movie Maker) was the
    second one, and whatever lossy codec you finally use for the
    WMV->AVI conversion step and web publishing will be the third
    one.

    I see basically three different ways to avoid these problems.

    Option 1: Just make your friend - the one that wasn't able to
    see the WMV video - to install the latest Windows Media Player
    and/or codec packs (for which I already gave you the download
    link in my previous message). If this makes the WMV video to
    work for him, the problem is solved.

    Option 2: Download/purchase a specialized MPEG editor (such
    as Womble MPEG Wizard) which will allow you to edit the video
    from the camera natively in the MPEG format. This is even
    better than Option 1, since MPEG-1 video will work quite
    universally, and you get rid of the lossy WMV compression
    step. (The only downside is that MPEG files are generally
    bigger than WMV files of equal quality.)

    Option 3: Use some other, more generic-purpose editor than
    Movie Maker: one, which will allow you to save directly to
    the format of your choice, instead of forcing you to use
    the proprietary WMV format and intermediate lossy
    conversion steps.

    * * *

    Of course, if you insist, there's the "option 4": install
    better AVI codecs on your computer, make the conversion to
    AVI again (using some other codec than "Microsoft Video 1"
    - one, which you have manually picked with some informed
    reasoning behind your choice), edit in VirtualDub and save
    for web. That's a bit kludgish, though, and your final
    video will lose some of its video quality in all these
    extraneous, lossy, intermediate conversion steps. (What
    is more, the person you're trying to help will need to
    install the final AVI codec you choose for distribution
    for himself, too, because Windows does not really _come_
    with web distribution friendly AVI codecs.)

    > So you now see I was coming at this from a quite different
    > perspective to the one you were describing.

    Not really. The important pieces that were missing were the
    type of the camera and the native format it stores the video in.

    > Source content was relatively trivial, and easy to capture
    > at the low quality level I needed for this (with my limited
    > free web storage space a significant factor here too). Added
    > value would come from the *extras*
    > added by MovieMaker:
    > - I joined the two MPGs
    > - I deleted bits where I'd moved the camera
    > - I realised the first (slow) section was too short, so I
    > duplicated it
    > - I went off for an hour to find a suitable soundtrack and
    > re-learned how to edit a WMA file with Goldwave. In particular
    > I wanted its beat to sync with the LED frequency (about 1 Hz).
    > I also wanted the soundtrack to be quiet (not muted) while
    > the 5 Hz part was showing; obviously it was then out of sync,
    > but I wanted to bring the sound back up over the 'credits'.
    > - I added the finished soundtrack in MovieMaker
    > - I saved it, using the Wizard's default of 'Best for my
    > computer...'

    OK, I can see where you're coming from: you have already done lots of
    work with this clip and don't want to recreate it again in some other
    editor.

    It's a shame that there is no way to export uncompressed video (or,
    gasp, frameserve) from Movie Maker, since this would allow utilizing the
    editor for tasks where WMV is not the preferred target format. As of
    now, the only way to get video out of Movie Maker is through lossy
    compression which degrades image quality.

    > My aim now is therefore to make an MPG and an AVI, as much for
    > learning as to possibly help my friend whose WMP cannot play
    > the WMV. Both need to be of a similar size to the WMV. (I have
    > managed a couple of twice the size, and several of about *60*
    > times the size!)

    If I had to do it this way, I would do it using AviSynth (Google for
    that) and VirtualDub in combination, and XviD for the final target
    codec. See <http://www.doom9.org/index.html?/wmv2avi.htm>. (Frameserving
    the WMV from AviSynth to VirtualDub removes the need to use the WVM->AVI
    converter you used.)

    If you want MPEG, instead, I would install a demo version of TMPGEnc and
    open the AviSynth script (that frameserves the WMV file) in there.

    > Getting back to VirtualDub, I have made progress. The breakthrough
    > as you and bxf suspected was to set both video and audio to 'Direct
    > Stream Copy'. However, I am still getting *very erratic* results. I'll
    > try to report these methodically in a separate post - this is already
    > getting brain numbingly long I suspect - but the two key problems are:
    > - 1.6 cannot read an AVI made in 1.3
    > - Both 1.3 and 1.6 give inconsistent results: sometimes, after opening
    > an AVI file that has behaved properly up till then, I cannot play the
    > Output file, only the Input. This seems because both video and audio
    > are in Direct Stream Copy mode. Then, running the identical operations
    > straight after, only the Output's *audio* will play! Then, repeating,
    > maybe *both* will play. Very disconcerting...

    That's probably somehow related to the "Microsoft Video-1" codec with
    which your conversion tool saved the AVI file. If I had to use an
    external conversion tool, I would probably save the intermediate video
    file as uncompressed AVI, or using HuffYUV or Alparysoft Lossless Codec.

    --
    znark
  8. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Jukka Aho" <jukka.aho@iki.fi> wrote:

    >Terry Pinnell wrote:
    >
    >> The originals were merely two 10 second MPGs recorded with my Sony
    >> DSC-1 Cybershot digicam, hand-held view of an array of flashing LEDs.
    >
    >OK, now we're making some progress here. :)

    Thanks for taking the time and trouble to reply so thoroughly to all
    my points. It's much appreciated.

    >The problem with the MPEG format is that there aren't many editors that
    >would allow editing it natively. (Especially the big-name NLE apps are
    >still lacking in this regard.) There are specialized MPEG editors such
    >as "TMPGEnc MPEG Editor" or "VideoReDo", or "Womble MPEG Video Wizard"
    >for this purpose (Google for these three to get more information - they
    >all have downloadable demo versions), but they do not usually have as
    >much features and functionality as a generic-purpose all-around NLE.

    I have TMPGEnc. It's a trial, and the MPEG2 facility has expired.

    I've just installed trails of the other two you mentioned. I like the
    look of Womble. It's a subjective issue, but must say VideoReDo looks
    awfully garish to me!

    Took me a visit to AcronymFinder, but now see that NLE means Non
    Linear Editor (not Necrotizing Leukoencephalitis or Network-Layer
    Encryption) <g>

    >This, of course, does not matter if you're going to convert your
    >original MPEG file into some other format (for web distirbution),
    >anyway. If that's the case, you only need to be using an editor
    >that allows opening the MPEG file, editing the video, and saving
    >the outcome to the target format of your choice. But therein lies
    >the problem: your target format of choice is the AVI format (with
    >yet-unspecified video and audio codecs), but Windows Movie Maker
    >2.0 only supports saving in WMV/ASF format - or, in DV AVI format,
    >as a sort of an exception to the main rule.

    Yes, just learned about that DV AVI option. But it turned my 4MB MPG
    into about 150MB!

    >Unlike more comprehensive video editors on the market (such as
    >Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas and the like), Movie Maker 2 does
    >_not_ allow you to export your finished video in AVI format
    >using whatever hand-picked audio and video codecs you wish -
    >even though this kind of functionality is what you would be
    >need here.
    >
    >Therefore, you have now improvised your way around the problem
    >by first saving your edited movie to WMV format and by then
    >converting it to the AVI format using an external tool.

    The conversion was a confused process of trial and error. I'll have to
    repeat it fairly soon before I forget how I did it. Do you know of a
    table or matrix somewhere showing what SW converts one format to
    another please?

    >This
    >sounds more or less reasonable approach at circumventing
    >MovieMaker's restrictions, but on a closer look, there are
    >some obvious problems (as already outlined in my previous
    >message):
    >
    >1) You used the WMV->AVI conversion tool without manually
    >specifying the AVI audio and video codecs. Hence, it just
    >gave you whatever defaults there were (and the default
    >codecs it chose were not particularly good for web
    >distribution and even VirtualDub didn't like them, for
    >one reason or the other)

    Indeed. This codec stuff is entirely new to me, and hence one more
    black art!

    Also, I gather it's important to know what audio and video codecs your
    *source* file 'have' (if that's the right term). Since that first
    tentative conversion, I've installed a couple of utilities for
    analysing that: afreeCodecVT, and AVIcodec. But interpreting what they
    tell me in examples like these

    LED-Sequencer4MB.wmv
    File : 3.82 MB (3.82 MB), duration: 0:00:49, type: ASF, 1
    audio stream(s), quality: 38 %
    Video : 11.18 MB, 1914 Kbps, 10.163 fps, 320*240 (4:3), WMV3 =
    Windows Media Video 9, Supported
    Audio : 405 KB, 67 Kbps, 44100 Hz, 2 channels, 0x161 = Windows
    Media Audio 9, Supported

    LED-Sequencer4MB-1b.avi
    File : 8.53 MB (8.53 MB), duration: 0:00:44, type: AVI, 1 audio
    stream(s), quality: 52 %
    Video : 7.69 MB, 1463 Kbps, 25.0 fps, 320*240 (4:3), CRAM =
    Unknown, Supported
    Audio : 859 KB, 160 Kbps, 44100 Hz, 2 channels, 0x161 = Windows
    Media Audio V2, Supported

    is beyond me.

    >2) Even if you now go back, install some AVI codecs that are
    >known-good for editing and/or web distribution, and proceed
    >by choosing a reasonable codec for the WMV->AVI conversion
    >process, your video has now gone through no less than three
    >(3) lossy, image-degrading compression cycles: the MPEG
    >compression in the camera was the first one, the WMV
    >compression (when you saved the video in Movie Maker) was the
    >second one, and whatever lossy codec you finally use for the
    >WMV->AVI conversion step and web publishing will be the third
    >one.

    Agreed, but in this particular case, quality is of low priority. I'm
    going to try it again anyway when I get time, to hopefully get some
    idea of the effect of using different codecs. Is there a relatively
    small subset you could recommend please? Otherwise the combinations
    possible (audio/video) run into hundreds!

    >I see basically three different ways to avoid these problems.
    >
    >Option 1: Just make your friend - the one that wasn't able to
    >see the WMV video - to install the latest Windows Media Player
    >and/or codec packs (for which I already gave you the download
    >link in my previous message). If this makes the WMV video to
    >work for him, the problem is solved.

    It turned out his WMP was version 6! Now updated to WMP9 (same as
    mine). Have yet to hear from him, but assume he can now play the WMV.
    So further work on AVI and MPG conversions can now proceed as a
    learning exercise, unhampered by any immediate practical need <g>.

    >Option 2: Download/purchase a specialized MPEG editor (such
    >as Womble MPEG Wizard) which will allow you to edit the video
    >from the camera natively in the MPEG format. This is even
    >better than Option 1, since MPEG-1 video will work quite
    >universally, and you get rid of the lossy WMV compression
    >step. (The only downside is that MPEG files are generally
    >bigger than WMV files of equal quality.)

    As mentioned, trialing Womble. Pretty expensive though, for a user who
    is only dabbling in this on a casual basis. On the other hand, that
    hasn't always stopped me buying nice tools in the past...

    >Option 3: Use some other, more generic-purpose editor than
    >Movie Maker: one, which will allow you to save directly to
    >the format of your choice, instead of forcing you to use
    >the proprietary WMV format and intermediate lossy
    >conversion steps.

    That sounds like heavyweight (=expensive) SW?
    >
    >Of course, if you insist, there's the "option 4": install
    >better AVI codecs on your computer, make the conversion to
    >AVI again (using some other codec than "Microsoft Video 1"
    >- one, which you have manually picked with some informed
    >reasoning behind your choice), edit in VirtualDub and save
    >for web. That's a bit kludgish, though, and your final
    >video will lose some of its video quality in all these
    >extraneous, lossy, intermediate conversion steps. (What
    >is more, the person you're trying to help will need to
    >install the final AVI codec you choose for distribution
    >for himself, too, because Windows does not really _come_
    >with web distribution friendly AVI codecs.)
    >
    >> So you now see I was coming at this from a quite different
    >> perspective to the one you were describing.
    >
    >Not really. The important pieces that were missing were the
    >type of the camera and the native format it stores the video in.
    >
    >> Source content was relatively trivial, and easy to capture
    >> at the low quality level I needed for this (with my limited
    >> free web storage space a significant factor here too). Added
    >> value would come from the *extras*
    >> added by MovieMaker:
    >> - I joined the two MPGs
    >> - I deleted bits where I'd moved the camera
    >> - I realised the first (slow) section was too short, so I
    >> duplicated it
    >> - I went off for an hour to find a suitable soundtrack and
    >> re-learned how to edit a WMA file with Goldwave. In particular
    >> I wanted its beat to sync with the LED frequency (about 1 Hz).
    >> I also wanted the soundtrack to be quiet (not muted) while
    >> the 5 Hz part was showing; obviously it was then out of sync,
    >> but I wanted to bring the sound back up over the 'credits'.
    >> - I added the finished soundtrack in MovieMaker
    >> - I saved it, using the Wizard's default of 'Best for my
    >> computer...'
    >
    >OK, I can see where you're coming from: you have already done lots of
    >work with this clip and don't want to recreate it again in some other
    >editor.
    >
    >It's a shame that there is no way to export uncompressed video (or,
    >gasp, frameserve) from Movie Maker, since this would allow utilizing the
    >editor for tasks where WMV is not the preferred target format. As of
    >now, the only way to get video out of Movie Maker is through lossy
    >compression which degrades image quality.

    Yes indeed. On my brief acquaintance with it, Movie Maker looks as if
    it will do most of what I need, with the sort of 'end-user orientated'
    interface that I need.

    >> My aim now is therefore to make an MPG and an AVI, as much for
    >> learning as to possibly help my friend whose WMP cannot play
    >> the WMV. Both need to be of a similar size to the WMV. (I have
    >> managed a couple of twice the size, and several of about *60*
    >> times the size!)
    >
    >If I had to do it this way, I would do it using AviSynth (Google for
    >that) and VirtualDub in combination, and XviD for the final target
    >codec. See <http://www.doom9.org/index.html?/wmv2avi.htm>. (Frameserving
    >the WMV from AviSynth to VirtualDub removes the need to use the WVM->AVI
    >converter you used.)

    You're beginning to lose me there! Maybe it will become clearer after
    experiment. So far I found AviSynth v2.56 Beta 3 at
    http://www.afterdawn.com/software/video_software/video_tools/avisynth.cfm
    but it looks heavy.

    >If you want MPEG, instead, I would install a demo version of TMPGEnc and
    >open the AviSynth script (that frameserves the WMV file) in there.

    I have the TMPGEnc demo version.

    >> Getting back to VirtualDub, I have made progress. The breakthrough
    >> as you and bxf suspected was to set both video and audio to 'Direct
    >> Stream Copy'. However, I am still getting *very erratic* results. I'll
    >> try to report these methodically in a separate post - this is already
    >> getting brain numbingly long I suspect - but the two key problems are:
    >> - 1.6 cannot read an AVI made in 1.3
    >> - Both 1.3 and 1.6 give inconsistent results: sometimes, after opening
    >> an AVI file that has behaved properly up till then, I cannot play the
    >> Output file, only the Input. This seems because both video and audio
    >> are in Direct Stream Copy mode. Then, running the identical operations
    >> straight after, only the Output's *audio* will play! Then, repeating,
    >> maybe *both* will play. Very disconcerting...
    >
    >That's probably somehow related to the "Microsoft Video-1" codec with
    >which your conversion tool saved the AVI file. If I had to use an
    >external conversion tool, I would probably save the intermediate video
    >file as uncompressed AVI, or using HuffYUV or Alparysoft Lossless Codec.

    I'll look out for those. I did get a sort of 'codec package'
    yesterday, called K-Lite Full, from
    http://www.free-codecs.com/K_Lite_Codec_Pack_download.htm
    but I stopped short of installing it. For a start, it says:
    "It is highly recommended to first uninstall other codec related
    packages before installing this package," yet I'm not sure whether or
    not I *have* any. And then it offered a *very* long list, most checked
    by default. In my state of ignorance, I felt it was too risky to
    proceed.

    Thanks again for your patience and extensive help.

    --
    Terry, West Sussex, UK
  9. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    Terry Pinnell wrote:

    >> apps are still lacking in this regard.) There are specialized MPEG
    >> editors such as "TMPGEnc MPEG Editor" or "VideoReDo", or "Womble
    >> MPEG Video Wizard"

    > I have TMPGEnc. It's a trial, and the MPEG2 facility has expired.

    Note that TMPGEnc Plus (the MPEG encoder) is not the same thing as
    TMPGEnc MPEG Editor (the MPEG editor).

    > Yes, just learned about that DV AVI option [in Windows Movie
    > Maker 2.0]. But it turned my 4MB MPG into about 150MB!

    That's to be expected; the DV format has a fixed bitrate of 25 Mbit/s, a
    fixed frame rate, and a fixed frame size. (Which also means that Movie
    Maker probably resized your original video images from 160×112 pixels to
    720×576. Talk about redundancy!)

    > The conversion was a confused process of trial and error. I'll have to
    > repeat it fairly soon before I forget how I did it. Do you know of a
    > table or matrix somewhere showing what SW converts one format to
    > another please?

    No, unfortunately I don't.

    > Indeed. This codec stuff is entirely new to me, and hence
    > one more black art!

    Maybe this will help to get you started:

    <http://www.cdmenupro.com/tutor_avicodec.htm>

    For a more detailed explanation, see:

    <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codec>
    <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_codec>

    > Also, I gather it's important to know what audio and video codecs your
    > *source* file 'have' (if that's the right term).

    Yes. That's good thinking. Knowing the exact details of your source
    format can help in many ways.

    Note that there are numerous container formats (see
    <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Container_format>) and codecs operate
    within the framework each of these provides. It is often the case that a
    particular codec is only available for a particular container format.
    Sometimes there are exceptions, though. For example, DV video can be
    stored in both AVI and QuickTime containers for the simple reason that
    there are DV codec implementations for both frameworks. In this case the
    wrapper format is different, but the actual video and audio data may be
    exactly the same.

    > Since that first tentative conversion, I've installed a couple of
    > utilities for analysing that: afreeCodecVT, and AVIcodec.

    You might also want to try GSpot.

    > But interpreting what they
    > tell me in examples like these
    >
    > [...]
    >
    > LED-Sequencer4MB-1b.avi
    > File : 8.53 MB (8.53 MB), duration: 0:00:44, type: AVI, 1 audio
    > stream(s), quality: 52 %
    > Video : 7.69 MB, 1463 Kbps, 25.0 fps, 320*240 (4:3), CRAM =
    > Unknown, Supported
    > Audio : 859 KB, 160 Kbps, 44100 Hz, 2 channels, 0x161 = Windows
    > Media Audio V2, Supported
    >
    > is beyond me.

    Well, there's the size of the file in its entirety: 8.53 MB. Then
    there's the duration - 44 seconds. It is also told that the container
    format is AVI, and that there is only one audio stream, which has been
    encoded with the quality setting of 52%.

    The video stream takes up 7.69 MB in total, 1,463,000 bits per second.
    The frame rate is 25 frames per second, and the video resolution is
    320×240 pixels with the aspect ratio of 4:3. The four-letter video codec
    identifier (FOURCC) is "CRAM", which means the "Microsoft Video 1" codec
    has been used - even though the program you used for digging out the
    information does not seem to recognize that and identifies it as
    "Unknown".

    The audio stream takes up 859 KB. It has been encoded using the bitrate
    of 160,000 bits per second. The sample rate is 44.1 samples per second,
    and there are two channels (so it's a stereo soundtrack). The sound
    codec is identified as being Windows Media Audio V2.

    (I have a hunch that the codec used for the audio track probably
    explains the problems with VirtualDub. VirtualDub is not a very "Windows
    Media" friendly editor - especially after Microsoft contacted the author
    and ordered him to remove the built-in ASF/WMV support.)

    > Agreed, but in this particular case, quality is of low priority. I'm
    > going to try it again anyway when I get time, to hopefully get some
    > idea of the effect of using different codecs. Is there a relatively
    > small subset you could recommend please? Otherwise the combinations
    > possible (audio/video) run into hundreds!

    The useful AVI video codecs are pretty much as follows: uncompressed,
    HuffYUV, Alparysoft lossless codec, M-JPEG (there are several
    implementations), DV (there are several implementations of this as
    well), and XviD. Of these, only XviD is suitable for Internet
    distribution. Others are more or less the kind of formats which you can
    use for acquisition and editing, but not for publishing.

    As for the useful AVI audio codecs, the list is shorter still:
    uncompressed PCM audio in its various forms, and MP3.

    There may be some others, but not many.

    (The bunch of AVI codecs that comes with Windows is mostly outdated
    stuff no-one uses any longer.)

    > It turned out his WMP was version 6! Now updated to WMP9 (same as
    > mine). Have yet to hear from him, but assume he can now play the WMV.
    > So further work on AVI and MPG conversions can now proceed as a
    > learning exercise, unhampered by any immediate practical need <g>.

    Yeah, suspected something like that. Good thing if the actual problem
    was solved.

    > As mentioned, trialing Womble. Pretty expensive though, for a
    > user who is only dabbling in this on a casual basis. On the other
    > hand, that hasn't always stopped me buying nice tools in the past...

    Womble is on the heavy side for an MPEG-oriented editor, but not when
    compared to "real" NLEs.

    >> Option 3: Use some other, more generic-purpose editor than
    >> Movie Maker: one, which will allow you to save directly to
    >> the format of your choice, instead of forcing you to use
    >> the proprietary WMV format and intermediate lossy
    >> conversion steps.

    > That sounds like heavyweight (=expensive) SW?

    Depends. There are tryout versions available:

    <http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/main.html>
    <http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/products/vegasfamily.asp>
    <http://www.avid.com/freedv/index.asp>
    <http://www.ulead.com/msp/runme.htm>
    <http://www.ulead.com/vs/runme.htm>

    (Well, Avid Free DV is actually free, but quite limited.)

    >> If I had to do it this way, I would do it using AviSynth (Google for
    >> that) and VirtualDub in combination, and XviD for the final target
    >> codec. See <http://www.doom9.org/index.html?/wmv2avi.htm>.
    >> (Frameserving the WMV from AviSynth to VirtualDub removes the need
    >> to use the WVM->AVI converter you used.)

    > You're beginning to lose me there! Maybe it will become clearer
    > after experiment. So far I found AviSynth v2.56 Beta 3 at
    > http://www.afterdawn.com/software/video_software/video_tools/avisynth.cfm
    > but it looks heavy.

    1) Install AviSynth

    2) Create a text file in Notepad with the following line in it:

    DirectShowSource("LED-Sequencer4MB.wmv",fps=25)

    3) Save the file to the same directory with the WMV video clip.

    4) Rename the .txt file to an .avs file. (If you don't see the filename
    extensions, you will need to enable them in the Windows Explorer
    settings.)

    5) Drag & drop the .avs file into VirtualDub.

    6) Now you can use VirtualDub for saving a copy of the video with any
    available AVI codec.

    >> If you want MPEG, instead, I would install a demo version of TMPGEnc
    >> and open the AviSynth script (that frameserves the WMV file) in
    >> there.

    > I have the TMPGEnc demo version.

    As mentioned above, you can open the .avs file as a source file for
    encoding in there, too.

    > I did get a sort of 'codec package' yesterday, called K-Lite
    > Full, from
    > http://www.free-codecs.com/K_Lite_Codec_Pack_download.htm
    > but I stopped short of installing it. For a start, it says:
    > "It is highly recommended to first uninstall other codec
    > related packages before installing this package," yet I'm
    > not sure whether or not I *have* any. And then it offered
    > a *very* long list, most checked by default. In my state
    > of ignorance, I felt it was too risky to proceed.

    Some people use these huge codec packs like the above, but as you
    already suspected yourself, they may sometimes cause problems, conflicts
    or unstability. Installing a huge combined collection of whatever system
    components nilly-willy is usually not a good idea.

    I tend to only install codecs "on need" basis.

    --
    znark
  10. Archived from groups: rec.video.desktop (More info?)

    "Jukka Aho" <jukka.aho@iki.fi> wrote:

    >Terry Pinnell wrote:
    >
    >>> apps are still lacking in this regard.) There are specialized MPEG
    >>> editors such as "TMPGEnc MPEG Editor" or "VideoReDo", or "Womble
    >>> MPEG Video Wizard"
    >
    >> I have TMPGEnc. It's a trial, and the MPEG2 facility has expired.
    >
    >Note that TMPGEnc Plus (the MPEG encoder) is not the same thing as
    >TMPGEnc MPEG Editor (the MPEG editor).
    >
    >> Yes, just learned about that DV AVI option [in Windows Movie
    >> Maker 2.0]. But it turned my 4MB MPG into about 150MB!
    >
    >That's to be expected; the DV format has a fixed bitrate of 25 Mbit/s, a
    >fixed frame rate, and a fixed frame size. (Which also means that Movie
    >Maker probably resized your original video images from 160×112 pixels to
    >720×576. Talk about redundancy!)
    >
    >> The conversion was a confused process of trial and error. I'll have to
    >> repeat it fairly soon before I forget how I did it. Do you know of a
    >> table or matrix somewhere showing what SW converts one format to
    >> another please?
    >
    >No, unfortunately I don't.
    >
    >> Indeed. This codec stuff is entirely new to me, and hence
    >> one more black art!
    >
    >Maybe this will help to get you started:
    >
    > <http://www.cdmenupro.com/tutor_avicodec.htm>
    >
    >For a more detailed explanation, see:
    >
    > <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codec>
    > <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_codec>
    >
    >> Also, I gather it's important to know what audio and video codecs your
    >> *source* file 'have' (if that's the right term).
    >
    >Yes. That's good thinking. Knowing the exact details of your source
    >format can help in many ways.
    >
    >Note that there are numerous container formats (see
    ><http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Container_format>) and codecs operate
    >within the framework each of these provides. It is often the case that a
    >particular codec is only available for a particular container format.
    >Sometimes there are exceptions, though. For example, DV video can be
    >stored in both AVI and QuickTime containers for the simple reason that
    >there are DV codec implementations for both frameworks. In this case the
    >wrapper format is different, but the actual video and audio data may be
    >exactly the same.
    >
    >> Since that first tentative conversion, I've installed a couple of
    >> utilities for analysing that: afreeCodecVT, and AVIcodec.
    >
    >You might also want to try GSpot.
    >
    >> But interpreting what they
    >> tell me in examples like these
    >>
    >> [...]
    >>
    >> LED-Sequencer4MB-1b.avi
    >> File : 8.53 MB (8.53 MB), duration: 0:00:44, type: AVI, 1 audio
    >> stream(s), quality: 52 %
    >> Video : 7.69 MB, 1463 Kbps, 25.0 fps, 320*240 (4:3), CRAM =
    >> Unknown, Supported
    >> Audio : 859 KB, 160 Kbps, 44100 Hz, 2 channels, 0x161 = Windows
    >> Media Audio V2, Supported
    >>
    >> is beyond me.
    >
    >Well, there's the size of the file in its entirety: 8.53 MB. Then
    >there's the duration - 44 seconds. It is also told that the container
    >format is AVI, and that there is only one audio stream, which has been
    >encoded with the quality setting of 52%.
    >
    >The video stream takes up 7.69 MB in total, 1,463,000 bits per second.
    >The frame rate is 25 frames per second, and the video resolution is
    >320×240 pixels with the aspect ratio of 4:3. The four-letter video codec
    >identifier (FOURCC) is "CRAM", which means the "Microsoft Video 1" codec
    >has been used - even though the program you used for digging out the
    >information does not seem to recognize that and identifies it as
    >"Unknown".
    >
    >The audio stream takes up 859 KB. It has been encoded using the bitrate
    >of 160,000 bits per second. The sample rate is 44.1 samples per second,
    >and there are two channels (so it's a stereo soundtrack). The sound
    >codec is identified as being Windows Media Audio V2.
    >
    >(I have a hunch that the codec used for the audio track probably
    >explains the problems with VirtualDub. VirtualDub is not a very "Windows
    >Media" friendly editor - especially after Microsoft contacted the author
    >and ordered him to remove the built-in ASF/WMV support.)
    >
    >> Agreed, but in this particular case, quality is of low priority. I'm
    >> going to try it again anyway when I get time, to hopefully get some
    >> idea of the effect of using different codecs. Is there a relatively
    >> small subset you could recommend please? Otherwise the combinations
    >> possible (audio/video) run into hundreds!
    >
    >The useful AVI video codecs are pretty much as follows: uncompressed,
    >HuffYUV, Alparysoft lossless codec, M-JPEG (there are several
    >implementations), DV (there are several implementations of this as
    >well), and XviD. Of these, only XviD is suitable for Internet
    >distribution. Others are more or less the kind of formats which you can
    >use for acquisition and editing, but not for publishing.
    >
    >As for the useful AVI audio codecs, the list is shorter still:
    >uncompressed PCM audio in its various forms, and MP3.
    >
    >There may be some others, but not many.
    >
    >(The bunch of AVI codecs that comes with Windows is mostly outdated
    >stuff no-one uses any longer.)
    >
    >> It turned out his WMP was version 6! Now updated to WMP9 (same as
    >> mine). Have yet to hear from him, but assume he can now play the WMV.
    >> So further work on AVI and MPG conversions can now proceed as a
    >> learning exercise, unhampered by any immediate practical need <g>.
    >
    >Yeah, suspected something like that. Good thing if the actual problem
    >was solved.
    >
    >> As mentioned, trialing Womble. Pretty expensive though, for a
    >> user who is only dabbling in this on a casual basis. On the other
    >> hand, that hasn't always stopped me buying nice tools in the past...
    >
    >Womble is on the heavy side for an MPEG-oriented editor, but not when
    >compared to "real" NLEs.
    >
    >>> Option 3: Use some other, more generic-purpose editor than
    >>> Movie Maker: one, which will allow you to save directly to
    >>> the format of your choice, instead of forcing you to use
    >>> the proprietary WMV format and intermediate lossy
    >>> conversion steps.
    >
    >> That sounds like heavyweight (=expensive) SW?
    >
    >Depends. There are tryout versions available:
    >
    > <http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/main.html>
    > <http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/products/vegasfamily.asp>
    > <http://www.avid.com/freedv/index.asp>
    > <http://www.ulead.com/msp/runme.htm>
    > <http://www.ulead.com/vs/runme.htm>
    >
    >(Well, Avid Free DV is actually free, but quite limited.)
    >
    >>> If I had to do it this way, I would do it using AviSynth (Google for
    >>> that) and VirtualDub in combination, and XviD for the final target
    >>> codec. See <http://www.doom9.org/index.html?/wmv2avi.htm>.
    >>> (Frameserving the WMV from AviSynth to VirtualDub removes the need
    >>> to use the WVM->AVI converter you used.)
    >
    >> You're beginning to lose me there! Maybe it will become clearer
    >> after experiment. So far I found AviSynth v2.56 Beta 3 at
    >> http://www.afterdawn.com/software/video_software/video_tools/avisynth.cfm
    >> but it looks heavy.
    >
    >1) Install AviSynth
    >
    >2) Create a text file in Notepad with the following line in it:
    >
    >DirectShowSource("LED-Sequencer4MB.wmv",fps=25)
    >
    >3) Save the file to the same directory with the WMV video clip.
    >
    >4) Rename the .txt file to an .avs file. (If you don't see the filename
    >extensions, you will need to enable them in the Windows Explorer
    >settings.)
    >
    >5) Drag & drop the .avs file into VirtualDub.
    >
    >6) Now you can use VirtualDub for saving a copy of the video with any
    >available AVI codec.
    >
    >>> If you want MPEG, instead, I would install a demo version of TMPGEnc
    >>> and open the AviSynth script (that frameserves the WMV file) in
    >>> there.
    >
    >> I have the TMPGEnc demo version.
    >
    >As mentioned above, you can open the .avs file as a source file for
    >encoding in there, too.
    >
    >> I did get a sort of 'codec package' yesterday, called K-Lite
    >> Full, from
    >> http://www.free-codecs.com/K_Lite_Codec_Pack_download.htm
    >> but I stopped short of installing it. For a start, it says:
    >> "It is highly recommended to first uninstall other codec
    >> related packages before installing this package," yet I'm
    >> not sure whether or not I *have* any. And then it offered
    >> a *very* long list, most checked by default. In my state
    >> of ignorance, I felt it was too risky to proceed.
    >
    >Some people use these huge codec packs like the above, but as you
    >already suspected yourself, they may sometimes cause problems, conflicts
    >or unstability. Installing a huge combined collection of whatever system
    >components nilly-willy is usually not a good idea.
    >
    >I tend to only install codecs "on need" basis.

    Excellent post, many thanks! Real life and husband duties have
    temporarily interrupted me, but I'll use the material above as soon as
    I get back on the case <g>.

    --
    Terry, West Sussex, UK
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